BENGALURU : Longing, for a person who was no longer around, started Brinda Jacob Jarvin on her production Wish You Were Here.This production — a combination of dance theatre, movement installation and photo/video exhibition — explores how our bodies “hold” desire. “Reclaiming and owning” that desire can be empowering, says Brinda, a contemporary dancer/choreographer.
“We want people thinking and talking about desire, and realising the importance of acknowleding it without judging it. If we judge desires, we are left helpless and without choices,” she says.
The artistes in the production tap into their longings, fears, unrealised impulses and express it through dance, movement, text, sounds and photographs. Besides Brinda, who conceptualised and directed this show, it features theatre and film artiste Kirtana Kumar, photographer Magali Couffon de Trevros and theatre and gender-studies artiste Benson Isaac.“This is an idea I had been exploring personally for a while,” she says. “That reclaiming desire and taking ownership of it can be empowering, and how to access this desire using the body”.
The artistes attempted it through authentic movement, a process “to dive into your subconscious through movement, for the stories held in our bodies”. Authentic movement is done by closing your eyes and letting your body move following inner impulses.Brinda believes that the “body is the unconscious mind”, that it holds what we are not conscious of. This led her into uncovering that and seeing where it leads her, to take ownership of these desires instead of shutting them down. “That is empowering,” she says.
“Integrating all that emerges from this exercise into yourself allows you to lead a fuller life,” she says.
One interesting aspect to Wish You Were Here is the age of the team. “I was sure that I want to work with people over 40,” says Brinda, adding that every discussion about sexuality and desire is centered around young people.“I wanted to work with older bodies and people with lived experience,” she says, to show how bodies that do not conform to beauty standards — with stretch marks or patches — can desire and can be desired.
The many artistes who worked on this production came up with different personal moments, and finally moments that represented the collective, and a not a single person, were selected for this production.
There were many common emotional experiences, such the ones related to aging, need for solitude and projecting the father onto lovers.
There was one exercise that explored emotional dependency in a relationship, which was done with a wall and the floor. “We look at the wall as the other and see how our bodies respond to it. It can be a support but it also stops us from finding our own balance, and sheds light on how much we prioritise relationships over self,” she says.